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Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter Ribs

Lazy days and winter short ribs. Braised for hours, the utterly tender rib meat falls from knobby bones and melts into obscene puddles of  succulent beef napped in unctous jus. Meat. Fat. Sauce. Oozing. Dripping. There are few things better than a pot of long braised beef short ribs. Period. After hours of intense aromatic foreplay, rustic short ribs are dirty, messy, and downright sexy. Shredded, pulled, piled, or plopped, there's nothing particular fancy about short ribs. They beg to be devoured, slurped, licked, and manhandled. That's typically how I roll. A raucous romp with juicy bone-in meat. Well, my game changed when I stumbled across a small (very small) package of dainty Marksbury Farm grass-fed boneless short ribs while browsing/grazing at Good Foods Co-op. Looking more like slab bacon than big beefy ribs, I took the ribs on a lighter tumble in the hay.

Slap on the lipstick and strap up the heels.
Dainty short ribs.
Game on.

Braised Short Rib Pinwheels.

After scoring the fat caps of each little rib to encourage the rolling process, I tied each rib with kitchen twine, smooshed  slivered garlic quarters into the center of each roll, seasoned them liberally with salt and pepper,  and browned them in a hot cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When the fat started to render and the flesh crusted over, I transferred the ribs to a side plate before tumbling 2 sliced carrots, 2 sliced celery ribs, 1 chopped onion, and 3 whole garlic cloves into the smoldering skillet. Just before the mirepoix caramelized, I added 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and let it brown before deglazing the skillet with 1 750ml bottle of cabernet sauvignon. After letting the wine reduce by half, I added 2 cups of beef stock, 3 bay leaves, and a handful of fresh thyme. When the stock came back to a boil, I slid the rolled ribs, along with the accumulated juices, back into the skillet and topped the skillet with a cartouche (a folded/vented parchment paper lid). After lightly patting the cartouche over the cast iron skillet, I slid the ribs into a preheated 350 degree oven to braise for 2 1/2 hours.

While the short ribs braised, I peeled a large rutabaga and diced it into cubes before carefully dropping them into boiling salted water. When they were fork tender, about 45 minutes, I scooped them into a bowl and showered the steaming pieces with freshly grated meyer lemon zest. I spooned the pieces into a blender, added 3 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter,1 cup warmed heavy cream, 1 cup beef broth, the juice of the zested lemon, salt, and ground white pepper. After blitzing the mix into a smooth puree, I scooped it out of the blender and set it aside.

When the ribs relaxed and tenderized in the braising stock.  I carefully removed the cartouche, snipped off the kitchen twine securing the pinwheels,  slid the ribs onto a  side plate, placed the hot skillet over a medium flame, and reduced the red wine-infused beef stock by 3/4 before adding a couple pats of butter for a little silky kiss.

After warming the pinwheels in the thickened sauce, I nestled them onto the rutabaga puree and tumbled steamed baby golden beets to the side before finishing with shaved Elmwood Stock watermelon radishes, slivered shallots, julienned red pepper, and kale micro greens.

Packing a bold meaty punch, the tender ribs almost collapsed under the insanely reduced sauce. While the meyer lemon-flecked rutabaga puree countered the inherent richness of the meat with earthy sweet acidity, the crisp jeweled radishes provided biting fresh crunch.


The perfect romp.

1 comment:

bluegirl00 said...

I really love/hate reading your blog. Every single entry makes me feel horribly culinarily inadequate and really, really hungry.